The USA Today tweet got my attention. It read “Is United Airlines passenger Dr. Dao an “Asian version of Rosa Parks?”
As a reporter, I knew they were quoting someone who made that statement. My relatives who are not journalists thought USA Today was making the comparison between Dr. Dao and civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
It appears they were not the only ones, because USA Today immediately faced backlash on Twitter. One tweet read “Point out the lady or gentleman who gave the thumbs up on this article.” Another tweet posted “Congratulations, this by far, the most ignorant headline of the week.”
USA TODAY HEADLINE TOLD THE STORY, TWEET WAS UNCLEAR
The USA TODAY headline on its website read “United passenger’s lawyer says he’s gotten emails comparing client to Rosa Parks.” Now that should have been the tweet.
USA Today chose not to use the same headline that was on their website, a decision that does not make sense. It could have been shortened, made the story crystal clear and avoided criticism.
AVOID WHAT MAY APPEAR TO BE CLICK-BAIT TWEETS
Today we want everyone to click into our stories because competition is tough. And I know that writing interesting and sometimes bizarre headlines can attract readers.
Let us not forget that many people make up their minds and quickly over one tweet without ever clicking into the story. That’s why it is important to be clear and informative in 140 characters.
A reader will give you one chance and you can blow it in one tweet.
USA Today corrected its mistake. As I was writing this blog, I noticed it took down the original tweet and replaced it with a new tweet that makes more sense ” United passenger’s lawyer says he’s gotten emails comparing his client to Rosa Parks:”
As I say over and over “Think before you tweet.”